Statement on the Middle East

22 August 1980

The 21st Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, 19-23 August, 1980 in Hamden, Connecticut:

To all Sections:

The 21st Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom,

Recognizing WILPF’s support for the rights of the Palestinian people, for the security of the people and states in the area, including Lebanon and Israel, and the welfare of all people in the area notes with grave concern the ever more critical and threatening situation in the Middle East, particularly in South Lebanon.

We are acutely aware that the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza creates conditions under which human rights are being violated. We are also aware that continuous settlement in the occupied areas and plans for Israeli government offices to be moved to East Jerusalem are additional barriers to negotiation. Barriers are also created when official Palestinian statements are issued which call for a democratic secular state “in all of Palestine.”

Action of the WILPF should include support of all efforts for peace and justice in the area, especially those projects jointly proposed by Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews. (The Al Fajr and New Outlook Conference in November 1980 is a case in point.)

We call on Sections to investigate whether their government in any way provides aid to Israel for its West Bank-Gaza settlements; to publicize such aid in their country; and to actively oppose such aid. (An example of such action was U.S. Section support for legislation to withhold economic aid to Israel in the amount Israel uses for its West Bank-Gaza settlements.)

We call the attention of our Sections to the WILPF resolution on the Middle East which recognizes that military power cannot lead to a just solution in the area and urge the Sections to also investigate the extent to which their government sends military aid to any country or involved party in the Middle East and to work for an agreement among all possible arms suppliers to end arms sales to all countries in the region.

(See also the resolutions of the Executive Committee Meeting, July 1976 and the Executive Committee Meeting, October, 1975.)